To not just rush through the rituals of holidays like Easter and Christmas, but to really explore the journeys that led to them and experience some introspection beforehand through Lent and Advent is something that I truly appreciate about being part of a liturgical church. There is significance, and beauty, in delayed gratification.
I’ve been thinking about the nativity story. Jesus, of all people, deserved a better entrance to the world than a stable and a manger. And God could have made it happen, I’m sure. But he didn’t. Mary gave birth in that stable, laid the King of Kings in a manger bed, and the only people on earth that celebrated were shepherds – the nobodies.
Those simplistic, humble elements remind me during this time of year to also stay humble, not be overcome by the chaos that this world has made the Christmas season. I know God delights in our praise, the angels rejoiced at the good news of Christ’s birth – but I also believe he would have us tone ourselves down a bit from time to time throughout the season. Reflect. Humble ourselves. Remember the nobodies.
You see, I’m in my own personal season of waiting. For God to show up with some guidance and hope. And so walking through the Advent season reminds me that God does show up. In his own timing and in his own way – very often in a manner that we don’t understand or even recognize at times. But he always shows up.
I also think about Mary….her waiting through her pregnancy to see God deliver on His promise to her. I’ll bet it wasn’t easy. I’ll bet people talked about her….about Joseph….probably thought their “angel” visits were made up to hide something. Because people are the same across centuries – generally looking for reasons to judge another.
I wonder, in their season of waiting: did they doubt? Did they wonder if it had been a dream, those visits from the angels, those promises from God?
I have a new perspective on the need for peace and hope this Advent season. The waiting, the anticipation of what God will do next is heavy for me. But then I stop and think of what He has already done, who He always has been. And it is in those moments, I feel peace and hope the most.